Sunday, April 03, 2016

The meaning of "right wing": Europe vs. America

Frauke Petry
Frauke Petry, head of the populist Alternative for Germany, gets interviewed by an aggressively ignorant reporter for Der Speigel:
SPIEGEL: Ms. Petry, in an interview with the right-wing populist weekly Junge Freiheit, you once said: "Many voters want to avoid one thing above all: being associated with the 'right-wing'." Now, though, your party, Alternative for Germany (AfD), is a pretty far to the right, to put it politely.

Petry: You are beginning this interview with an insinuation, not a question. That's too bad! The AfD is a liberal-conservative party. Furthermore, I think it's wrong to see the political battle between left and right as a fight between good and evil. In Germany, the right is associated with xenophobia and the politics of the Nazi regime. In America, the liberal economic policy of Milton Friedman is seen as right-wing. So it depends on the definition. [Emphasis added]

The point that Ms. Petry makes is important: "right-wing" means something different in the US than it does in Europe. Historically, the "right" wing in Europe were monarchists while the left wing opposed the monarch. By contrast, in the US, the right wing descended from the founding fathers and the philosophy of natural rights and individual liberty and the consequent desire for small limited government. Thus, these two versions of right wing often have little in common.

Neville Chamberlain
Winston Churchill and Neville Chamberlain illustrate this point.  In the US, Churchill's foreign policy realism is identified as right-wing while Chamberlain's faith in negotiated treaties, as written on paper, is Obama-esque and decidedly left-wing.   Both, however, were in the "conservative" party. Clearly "conservative" means something different there.

The difference between Euro-right and American right is clear to us in America.  It is clear to Ms. Petry in Germany.  The news media, whether the MSM in America or Der Speigel in Germany, has its own reasons for not wanting to recognize the obvious difference.

Monday, July 27, 2015

While Citizens May Face $10,000 Fines, Can California Governments Can Waste Water With Impunity?

Gov. Jerry Brown has called for $10,000 fines for residents and businesses that waste water in California amid mandatory conservation targets.  But, will the liberals who run California care if the governments waste water?  Shown below, water from a San Francisco pipe flows out of a manhole and streams over cable-car tracks:

In San Francisco, Support for Kate Steinle, Opposition Sanctuary Cities

Kate Steinle
Francisco Sanchez, an illegal alien with seven felony convictions and five previous deportations, was attracted to San Francisco because, as a sanctuary city, he felt safe there. San Francisco, however, is not as safe for  law-abiding citizens such as Kate Steinle who was callously shot to death earlier this month on SF's Pier 14.  Sanchez has been charged with her murder.

Today, concerned citizens held a press conference on Pier 14 to call for an end to "sanctuary city" policies in San Francisco and across the nation:

Debbie Bacigalupi, who ran in 2012 as the Republican nominee for California's 14th congressional district, is shown below speaking for the cause: 

At the site of this press conference, flowers and a photograph mark the spot where Kate Steinle died:

Kate Steinle had every reason to feel safe: her murder occurred in a tourist section of San Francisco.  As you can see below, Pier 14 has a view of the Transamerica Pyramid (shown below, near center) and the pier is within a block of the SF Ferry Building which, newly renovated, attracts both tourists and locals to upscale and gourmet food shops (the Ferry Building's famed Clock Tower is visible below on the right).

Looking the other way, visitors to Pier 14 have a view of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge:

 Another view of the crowd attending the press conference:

Kate Steinle is not alone.  There have been 121 murders attributed to illegals released by the Obama administration.  The Remembrance Project was created to raise awareness of these tragedies and stop the policies which allow these needless murders.

San Francisco's politicians undoubtedly think that they are being kind-hearted by providing safe harbor to those who violate US immigration laws.  That such policies naturally attract violent criminals to the city seems not to be their concern.  As long as the left has "sympathy" for illegals, their 'rights' will trump those of mere US citizens.

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

GOP Fail: The Gruber Testimony

Jonathan Gruber
Sometimes opportunity knocks and no one answers.  Jonathan Gruber's testimony today was one of those times.  Gruber was a central player in the scam that is Obamacare and yet the focus of the questions and the coverage was on irrelevancies.

I watched some Fox News and they were shocked Obamacare architect Jonathan Gruber would call voters "stupid."  Other news stories were similar, highlighting issues like Gruber's apologies or his refusal to disclose his pay.   None of those issues, though, really matter to the average voter.  They have never heard of Gruber and little care whether he apologizes for dumb statements.

The average voter does care intensely about his family's health care.  Gruber's videos revealthat the administration knew that average Americans would be harmed by Obamacare.  In particular, they reveal that:
  • Obamacare was designed to make the average (healthy) American pay more.  The $2,500 cut was never real.  If Americans knew this, Gruber explained, "it would not have passed."
  • Obamacare does raise taxes.   To avoid admitting that, the "bill was written in a tortured way."
  • Despite the promise Obama made 37 times, Gruber knew from the beginning that there would be people who would loose the plans.
In sum, the foundational promises of Obamacare were false and, worse, were known to be false from the beginning.

The true Gruber scandal is not that an obscure technocrat insulted voters.  The true scandal is that the whole of Obamacare was dishonest from the start: prices have gone up and people have lost their plans and their doctors and the Democrats knew from the beginning that this would happen.  For the GOP, this should have been today's focus.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Women, children sacrificed to political correctness

Regarding the Rotherham horror, Allison Pearson asks:
If South Yorkshire Police can mount a raid on Sir Cliff Richard’s home in pursuit of evidence linked to a single allegation of child sex abuse 30 years ago, why were South Yorkshire Police incapable of pursuing multiple allegations against multiple men who raped 1,400 children over 16 years?
The answer is one of those defining moments of left-liberalism: the left would prefer that 1,400 children get raped rather than risk offending the "Asians" (read Muslims) who were raping them.  For example, as the Telegraph explains:
Ann Cryer, an MP from 1997 until 2010, told The Sunday Telegraph how she had feared being called “racist” when, in 2002, she exposed a sex-abuse scandal involving Pakistani men in her constituency of Keighley, West Yorkshire.
And, also:
Simon Danczuk, the Labour MP for Rochdale, revealed that even now some of his colleagues disapproved of his efforts to uncover child abuse, because some were “obsessing about multiculturalism”.
As George Orwell explained, one of the basic principles of Communism is that:
"All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others."
In the left-liberal world of political correctness, women are equal but Islam is 'more equal.'

In 50 years, liberals have not changed

Reagan warned us about Obama:

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Mass transit: when liberalism meets reality

Despite the mountains of subsidies they receive, buses account for a mere 3% of passenger-miles traveled.  They get those subsidies because Democrats love the idea of mass transit.  The reality is something else.  In the (Toronto) National Post, for example, one liberal discusses his awakening:
“I used to be a big supporter of the streetcar until I started riding it every day,” said Steve Tartaglia, who regularly rides the streetcar from Liberty Village to King and Adelaide.  He called his commute an “absolute circus.”
Illustrating the problems, other riders quoted in the article mentioned "rude drivers, overcrowding, frequent short turns, breakdowns, blockages, bunching and extra-long wait times" as well as human feces in the seats.

No amount of government funding will make this system work well.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

US Judge decides that California's death penalty serves no "purpose"

Judge Carney
US District Judge Cormac J. Carney has ruled that California's death penalty is unconstitutionally in violation of "the Eighth Amendment's prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment." In his opinion [PDF], he writes:
Since 1978, when the current death penalty system was adopted by California voters, over 900 people have been sentenced to death for their crimes. Of them, only 13 have been executed. For the rest, the dysfunctional administration of California's death penalty system has resulted, and will continue to result, in an inordinate and unpredictable period of delay preceding their actual execution. Indeed, for most, systemic delay has made their execution so unlikely that the death sentence carefully and deliberately imposed by the jury has been quietly transformed into one no rational jury or legislature could ever impose: life in prison, with the remote possibility of death. As for the random few for whom execution does become a reality, they will have languished for so long on Death Row that their execution will serve no retributive or deterrent purpose and will be arbitrary.
While judges should rule on the basis of law, he veers far away from that when he decides that California's death penalty serves "no retributive or deterrent purpose." Deciding what is retributive and what is deterrent are policies issues, and policies issues are for the legislature, not the judiciary, to decide.

Notice also that the judge is declaring that the results of the judicial process are "unpredictable" and "random."  He seems unaware that his decision could be considered an example of just that.

So far, Carney's decision applies to just to the case of one Ernest Dewayne Jones who raped and murdered his girlfriend's mother.  One can expect, however, that death penalty opponents will attempt to apply the same reasoning to the cases of the rest of the state's convicted murderers.

Judge Carney, like Chief Justice Roberts who approved Obamacare, was appointed by Pres. Geo. W. Bush. Bush may have been strong on the war on terror but he wasn't strong on much else.

Compare and contrast

Pres. Obama speaks on the attack on the Malaysian airliner flying over Ukraine:

Pres. Reagan speaks on the Soviet attack on Korean Airliner KAL 007:

We celebrate Reagan for having  won the Cold War.  Obama has no idea that he is blundering into a new one.

Hat tip: Greg.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Philosophy: deconstructionism explained and deconstructed.

Deconstructionism is academically–trendy but its meaning can be hard to pin down because its proponents avoid precise definitions.  The basic idea seems to be that words don't mean as much as we think they do.  Here is how the Stanford University Philosophy Department explains it:
[L]anguage is, as Saussure says, nothing but differences. That is, words have meaning only because of contrast-effects with other words. 'Red' means what it does only by contrast with 'blue', 'green', etc. 'Being' also means nothing except by contrast, not only with 'beings' but with 'Nature', 'God', 'Humanity', and indeed every other word in the language. No word can acquire meaning in the way in which philosophers from Aristotle to Bertrand Russell have hoped it might -- by being the unmediated expression of something non-linguistic (e.g., an emotion, a sense-datum, a physical object, an idea, a Platonic Form).
Let's focus on "[W]ords have meaning only because of contrast-effects with other words.  'Red' means what it does only by contrast with 'blue', 'green', etc."  That, of course, is wrong.  'Red' refers to the range of electromagnetic wavelengths that excite one of the three sets of cones in the human eye.  The response of these cones can be quantitatively measured and looks like:

'Red', 'green', and 'blue' are not social constructs whose meaning may vary depending upon cultural influences.  They are definable with scientific precision.

It seems clear that deconstructivists avoid specifics because, once the specifics are exposed, their philosophy is reduced to foolishness.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Hillary visits San Jose; Tea Party breaks out

After ducking a shoe earlier today in Las Vegas, Hillary Clinton traveled to San Jose State University to speak tonight.  A tea party broke out outside the Event Center where Hillary was speaking (click on any image to enlarge): 

Channel 2 News showed up and interviewed tea partiers:

In addition to the Tea Party, the San Jose State University's chapter of CollegeGOP  was there:
The student on the left is the chapter's vice president.

The woman below had an answer to Hillary's question: "what difference does it make"?  The difference depends on whose casket it is:
While many signs focused on Benghazi, the next election is not likely to turn on the issue.  At lunch, my waitress was asked if she knew about Benghazi.  She replied, "of course, he was a famous 1960s TV actor."  Yes, young people know about Ben Gazzara.

Other signs walked through other famous moments in Hillary's career.  Remember "reset":

Remember Hillary's role in the Vince Foster episode:
While talking with this woman, a liberal came up to us and asked "do you know which country Benghazi is in?"  I said "Libya."  She replied "I am not talking to you" and then asked my friend above a couple more geography questions which she answered.  The liberal then asked what Benghazi's latitude and longitude were.  We didn't have any numbers for her and that was her opportunity: she declared that we didn't know enough about Benghazi to be protesting it and left in a huff.  I suppose that no history professor would ever try to teach World War II without first requiring the students to memorize the latitude and longitude of Berlin.

Hillary's life also offers important lessons on feminism and women's rights.  To aid in discussion of these issues with the young women on the campus, this Tea Partier brought a show-and-tell item: a blue dress.

Off to the side of the protest was a woman with Hillary-in-a-box:
I thought the toy might have been cruelly designed to scare children, but I was wrong.  She was a Hillary supporter and also a local artist.  She designed and built the Hillary-in-a-box herself.  Standing with her was another Hillary supporter, also equipped with a Hillary-in-a-box:
Remember his outfit the next time someone claims that Tea Partiers wear silly costumes.

Further away, there was this man in the black hat gathering signatures for  MoveToAmend  which aims to end corporate personhood:
He explained to me that the constitution nowhere mentions corporations and the bill of rights applies only to individuals.  I asked if that meant that the the New York Times lacked the right to freedom of speech?  He explained that the Times is actually covered by freedom of the press which is an  exception to the constitution not mentioning corporations.

Speaking of things that upset liberals, take a look at this man:
He is wearing a Molon Labe sweatshirt which depicts an 'assault' rifle while also holding a "don't tread on me" flag. 

Here is another answer to the question of "what difference does it make"?
The overwhelming incompetence that Hillary displayed in that episode really should disqualify her from the presidency.  It won't , of course: most people like Ben Gazzara.

As the protest continued on into the evening, there was also this sign on the war-on-women:

This Tea Party was organized by the Gilroy-Morgan Hill Patriots,  with help from Tea Party Patriots of Silicon Valley, the Silicon Valley 9-12 Project, and the Bay Area Patriots/SF Tea Party.

Tonight's event is part of four-day  three-state speaking tour.  ABC News reports:
Clinton’s tour kicks off Tuesday in California where she’ll deliver a keynote at a large marketing summit in San Francisco. Later that day, she’ll pop up to Portland, Ore., to headline the World Affairs Council of Oregon’s annual International Speaker series.

She’ll stop by Las Vegas Thursday where she will give closing remarks at a scrap metal recycling expo (and also likely draw attention from politicos taking note of her first appearance in an early primary state this year).
 According to the New York Times, Hillary charges $200,000 per speech.  So, ABC speculates that she might be paid $1 million over these four days.  Standing by her man has paid off.

Sunday, March 02, 2014

Paradox: Venezuela failing "despite" government having absolute control

The Atlantic analyzes Venezuela and is puzzled by Hugo Chavez's disastrous legacy:
Venezuela is now the world champion of inflation, homicide, insecurity, and shortages of essential goods—from milk for children to insulin for diabetics and all kinds of indispensable products. All this despite having the greatest oil reserves in the world and a government with absolute control of all state institutions and levers of power. 
So, Venezuela is a disaster "despite" having "a government with absolute control"?

PREVIOUSLY on the paradoxes that vex the minds of liberals/journalists:
Paradox: Those most knowledgeable about science are least likely to believe climate alarmists
Paradox: Those who support Obamacare don't  understand it
Paradox: Rather than work, people accept free money!
Paradox: Higher taxes yield less revenue
Paradox: Price high despite shortage;  Also: despite homeowners protecting themselves, crime is down.
Paradox: "Despite" having the most generous benefits for homelessness, homeless flock to San Francisco
Paradox: Gun sales up despite politicians' threats to ban gun sales
Paradox: Student test scores improve despite school funding decrease
News report: Gun crime down "despite" increase in gun sales
It's a paradox: Congress unpopular "despite record"
"Ironically," conservatives and their children are happier
It's a paradox!: Crime down when criminals are in jail.
Paradox: Crime is down despite criminals being in prison
Paradox: Few fraudulent voters if voters are required to have IDs

Friday, February 14, 2014

Is Obama an evil genius?

The Washington Post reviews the competence of recent Obama diplomatic appointments:
The nominee for ambassador to Norway, for example, prompted outrage in Oslo by characterizing one of the nation’s ruling parties as extremist. A soap-opera producer slated for Hungary appeared to have little knowledge of the country she would be living in. A prominent Obama bundler nominated to be ambassador to Argentina acknowledged that he had never set foot in the country and doesn’t speak Spanish.

 Even former senator Max Baucus (D-Mont.), the new U.S. ambassador in Beijing, managed to raise eyebrows during his confirmation hearing by acknowledging, “I’m no real expert on China.” . . . . 

The troubles began last month, when million-dollar bundler and Chartwell Hotels chief executive George Tsunis testified at his confirmation hearing to be ambassador to Norway. Tsunis admitted he had never been to the Scandinavian country and suggested, among other things, that the nation’s Progress Party was part of a discounted “fringe.” It is actually part of Norway’s center-right ruling coalition.

Mamet was asked during his own confirmation hearing this month if he had ever been to Argentina, where he would be ambassador. “I haven’t had the opportunity yet to be there,” said Mamet, who raised more than $500,000 for Obama’s reelection.

During the same hearing, Robert C. Barber, who raised more than $1.6 million for Obama in 2012 and has been nominated to serve as ambassador to Iceland, said he had never visited the Nordic nation.

Then there is Colleen Bell, the nominee for ambassador to Hungary and the Hollywood producer behind “The Bold and The Beautiful” soap opera, who raised or contributed about $800,000 to Obama in the last election. She stammered her way through testimony about U.S. strategic interests in the country, which is the focus of growing international alarm over its far-right government’s treatment of Jews and other minorities.  [Emph. added]
Add to these examples, such Obama cabinet appointments as John Kerry and Chuck Hagel, and one has a distinct pattern of incompetence:  Obama surrounds himself with fools.  This is not something that smart people do.  As Sir Arthur Conan Doyle observed:
Mediocrity knows nothing higher than itself, but talent instantly recognizes genius.
Obama is mediocrity. He may do evil (forcing people into Obamacare, enabling Iranian nukes, etc) but these are the acts of a fool, not a genius.

ASIDE: Note that the wide variation in the cost of ambassadorships.  Mamet raised a mere $500,000 while getting Argentina while Barber raised over $1.6 million and merely got Iceland.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

How much does it cost to buy a mayor?

Ray Nagin
A jury has found former New Orleans mayor Ray "school bus" Nagin guilty of 20 counts of corruption.  CNN reports:
A January 2013 indictment detailed more than $200,000 in bribes to the mayor, and his family members allegedly received a vacation in Hawaii; first-class airfare to Jamaica; private jet travel and a limousine for New York City; and cellular phone service. In exchange, businesses that coughed up for Nagin and his family won more than $5 million in city contracts, according to the January 2013 indictment.
$200,00 in bribes generated over $5 million in contracts: that is a 25-to-1 return on investment.

Mayor Nagin is also well known for his open racism, having declared that he wanted New Orleans to be a "chocolate" city:
It's time for us to come together. It's time for us to rebuild a New Orleans, the one that should be, a chocolate New Orleans. And I don't care what people are saying uptown or wherever they are. This city will be chocolate at the end of the day.

PREVIOUSLY on the cost of buying government:
Kickbacks and the LA Coliseum
How to buy a congressman
How to buy a judge
Speaker Pelosi and Sen. Feinstein: how their husbands benefit from government contracts 
How to buy a vote (they're cheap: $10)
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